Dick Stuart '37 Okemos, Michigan

Richard (Dick) Stuart is Washington and Lee's oldest living alumnus, having graduated in 1937 with a B.A. in English and Psychology. As a student, Stuart was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and joined Delta Upsilon fraternity. Stuart came to Washington and Lee from western Massachusetts. His son, Dr. Richard K. Stuart, Jr. is also a Washington and Lee graduate, class of 1974.

Stuart helped establish the Class of 1937 Scholarship and previously served as a class agent, reaching out to his classmates to support the Annual Fund. He served in World War II and was part of the Office of Strategic Services, a wartime intelligence agency that became the CIA following the war. At that time Stuart was transferred to the Department of State. There his sub rosa acquaintance with nationalist leaders during Japanese occupation of the southeast Asian colonies of European powers, as well as his knowledge of the languages of the area, proved useful in developing policies toward the former colonies then attaining independent statehood.   Stuart now resides in central Michigan and remains a loyal member of distinguished giving societies at W&L, including The President's Society recognizing leadership giving, 1749 Circle recognizing consecutive giving, and Doremus Society for those who make legacy gifts to the university.

What is your most vivid memory of W&L?

Years of living on the fringe of the Michigan State University campus with its more than 40,000 students, as well as my retirement years in Lexington, has possibly given me a sharper memory of my years at W&L as a student.  I think most often of the front campus and the warm friends I made - and yes, I smile when I think of them!

How are you different because of your W&L experience?

I'm much more outgoing. W&L taught me about leadership through campus politics, fraternity, seeing others' viewpoints, and through learning something about the art of organizing.

What drives you to give consistently to W&L?

As a senior, I took the lead in organizing our class gift to the university. The gift is still given to a student every year. If memory serves me right, this was the first of such a class fund. Every year I receive a letter of thanks from the student who receives the scholarship. It was my hope that the fund could be added to every year but after graduation jobs were hard to get and then came WWII. 

What is your hope for the future of W&L?

I hope that W&L will retain a good blend of the liberal arts and science in its requirements for a degree and will continue to foster the honor code, so much needed in public life.